Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
Mariano Rivera may be retired from baseball, but he showed he's still capable of throwing cut fastballs for strikes while making an appearance at Dick's Sporting Goods "Pinstripe Wednesday" event in Manhattan. The only difference, on this occasion Rivera wasn't using baseballs to break opponents bats. Instead, he was using a little humor to bust his former teammates... well, let's just say he was having a little fun at their expense.
It all broke loose when Rivera addressed the crowd and started going over his list of Christmas gifts he'd like to give three prominent members of the New York Yankees from his time with the team: Shortstop Derek Jeter, current free agent Robinson Cano and manager Joe Girardi. He got a pretty solid shot in on all three men, but his zinger for Jeter was especially strong.
For Derek Jeter, a life-size female doll, "so he would have a wife."
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
The New York Yankees landed a much needed insurance policy on Wednesday when they agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with free agent Kelly Johnson. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report the agreement was in place.
It's not a headline grabbing signing like that of Jacoby Ellsbury, but it's an important one for New York as they borrow from another division rival. Johnson, 31, is a jack-of-all-trades in the field, having spent time at second base, which is his primary position, as well as third base, first base and left field with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. That versatility and skill set made him an attractive target this winter as they await resolutions on Robinson Cano's free agency and Alex Rodriguez's appeal hearing in New York.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
The anticipated bidding war for Japanese free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka could be right around the corner as Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are reportedly close to reaching an agreement on a new posting system that will change the way Japanese players are brought to the United States before reaching free agency in NPB.
The proposal on the table, according to Sanspo in Japan and Fox Sports Jon Morosi, features a $20 million maximum bid for all players that are posted by their team in NPB. Under the soon to be extinct system, bids were not capped, so this opens the door for smaller market teams to make serious bids on Japanese free agents they covet.
Of course, another important aspect of the new system is how the process works in case of a tie, which is now likely to be a regular occurrence with capped bidding. Yahoo's Jeff Passan fills us in on those details.
Source: In MLB's posting proposal, there is a $20M maximum posting fee. In case of tie, player free to sign with any team with top bid.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
The Walk-Off is your end-of-the-day collection of news and gossip from the world of baseball, plus the best of the blogosphere and other assorted goodness.
IT'S OFFICIAL: As expected, the Detroit Tigers are moving Miguel Cabrera back to first base. Rookie Nick Castellanos will play third in 2014. [MLive]
THE LATEST: Brandon Phillips, who the Cincinnati Reds were said to be shopping, is now unlikely to be traded, writes Ken Rosenthal. [Fox Sports]
GOSSIP: Sounds like Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija might get traded during next week's Winter Meetings. Might be a good get for a few teams. [@JCrasnick]
GOOD READ: Is Jonathan Lucroy more valuable than Adrian Beltre? Find out as Jonah Keri begins his annual ranking of MLB players by trade value. [Grantland]
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew20 hrs ago
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Famous actor/Red Sox fan/Funky Bunch leader Mark Wahlberg has no hard feelings about Jacoby Ellsbury taking $153 million from the New York Yankees and departing from the Boston Red Sox.
"We got the ring already, let him get his money ... Johnny Damon did it, it is what it is ... I'm very happy for him, he's a great guy."
That reaction might seem somewhat surprising considering how hard some in Boston are taking the news, and how dedicated the Wahlberg clan is to their Boston sports.
Answer Man: Craig Breslow talks 3-D printing, valuable facial hair, Red Sox brains and his pediatric cancer foundationDavid Brown at Big League Stew21 hrs ago
Tuesday was 3-D Printing Day across the United States and that got left-hander Craig Breslow of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox excited. Reputed to be the smartest baseball player in the world, Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and he was accepted at NYU med school after scoring a 34 (28 is considered average) on his MCAT. But how can someone become a doctor when he can still get guys out in the major leagues? It's been a good kind of dilemma for Breslow, who has a 2.82 ERA in 402 career innings and has settled in with the Red Sox, his sixth major league organization.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew21 hrs ago
Look, Red Sox fans are angry. Logically they probably shouldn't be. The Red Sox didn't offer Ellsbury as much money, so he followed the money. It's not an uncommon thing. But fans don't always think logically. Being a fan is about passion and an unbreakable allegiance to a team. Therefore, being a fan hurts sometimes.
- David Brown at Big League Stew22 hrs ago
The contract that 37-year-old Paul Konerko signed with the Chicago White Sox looks like it was worked out by a state lottery authority, and Paulie is not getting the lump sum. The Sox sent a press release Wednesday morning saying Konerko will make $2.5 million for 2014 — which would be an $11 million pay cut if he makes it through a 17th full major league season — but the details are not as frugal, or as simple:
Under terms of the deal, the six-time American League All-Star will receive $1.5 million in 2014 and $1 million in 2021. Under terms of his previous contract signed on December 8, 2010, Konerko will receive $1 million annually from 2014-2020.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
Perhaps capping a wild day of offseason trades and free-agent signings, the Colorado Rockies have agreed to terms with free-agent first baseman Justin Morneau to fill the shoes of recently retired team hero Todd Helton.
Morneau deal is pending a physical.. But will come in at two-year. $13 million... #Rockies... He was top target at 1B.
- David Brown at Big League Stew1 day ago
The New York Yankees still have more money than anyone else, and they don't care where they get their players — even if they used to be members of the Boston Red Sox. And they sure bought an expensive one Tuesday, signing outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury for seven years and $153 million. The Seattle Mariners also reportedly were in the hunt, as were the Red Sox, but not at that price.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported first that a deal was close.
The deal capped a busy day for baseball transactions — the Oakland Athletics alone made two trades — and continues a predictably expensive offseason for the Yankees, who haven't even signed Robinson Cano or a starting pitcher yet. With catcher Brian McCann also in the fold, they've allocated $238 million this offseason. Taking A-Rod's salary out of the picture because he probably will be suspended for some amount of the 2014 season, their payroll is $144 million. And rising, undoubtedly.